Exploring Frontiers: Nature's Blueprint

On May 2-3, 2019, The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group hosted the "Exploring Frontiers: Nature's Blueprint" symposium, which featured the latest insights from leading researchers in the fields of morphogenesis and regeneration. This event was chaired by Michael Levin, Ph.D., leader of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University

You can read our news story about the event here

 View agenda  speaker bios  watch videos


Please contact with any questions.

05/02/2019 to 05/03/2019

Allen Institute
615 Westlake Avenue N.
Seattle, WA 98109

Event Overview

Thursday, May 2:

  • Registration and breakfast, 8:30-9:00am
  • Welcome and introduction, 9:00am
  • Morning sessions, 9:00-12:10pm
  • Networking lunch (provided), 12:10-1:30pm
  • Afternoon sessions, 1:30-4:40pm
  • Closing remarks, 4:40pm

Friday, May 3:

  • Registration and breakfast, 8:30-9:00am
  • Welcome and introduction, 9:00am
  • Morning sessions, 9:00-12:05pm
  • Closing remarks, 12:05pm

Speakers include:

  • James Briscoe, Ph.D., The Francis Crick Institute
  • Veronica Grieneisen, Ph.D., John Innes Centre
  • Dagmar Iber, Ph.D., ETH Zurich
  • Arthur Lander, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
  • Michael Levin, Ph.D., Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University
  • Wendell Lim, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
  • Wallace Marshall, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
  • Elliot Meyerowitz, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
  • Arthur Prindle, Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • Will Ratcliff, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jessica Whited, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • Jennifer Zallen, Ph.D., Sloan Kettering Institute

Symposium Chair: Michael Levin, Ph.D.

Leader of Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University

Prior to college, Michael Levin worked as a software engineer and independent contractor in the field of scientific computing. He attended Tufts University, interested in artificial intelligence and unconventional computation. To explore the algorithms by which the biological world implemented complex adaptive behavior, he got dual B.S. degrees, in CS and in Biology.  He received a PhD from Harvard University for the first characterization of the molecular-genetic mechanisms that allow embryos to form consistently left-right asymmetric body structures in a universe that does not macroscopically distinguish left from right (1992-1996); this work is on Nature’s list of 100 Milestones of Developmental biology of the Century. He then did post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School (1996-2000), where he began to uncover a new bioelectric language by which cells coordinate their activity during embryogenesis. His independent laboratory (2000-2007 at Forsyth Institute, Harvard; 2008-present at Tufts University) develops new molecular-genetic and conceptual tools to understand information processing in regeneration, embryogenesis, and cancer suppression. He holds the Vannevar Bush endowed Chair and serves as director of the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology. Recent honors include the Scientist of Vision award and the Distinguished Scholar Award. His group’s specific focus is on endogenous biophysical mechanisms that implement decision-making during pattern regulation, and harnessing voltage gradients that serve as prepatterns for anatomical polarity, organ identity, gene expression, and epigenetic modification. The lab’s current main directions are: 1) understanding how somatic cells form bioelectrical networks for processing pattern memories and guiding morphogenesis, 2) creating next-generation AI tools for helping scientists understand top-down control of pattern regulation (a new bioinformatics of shape), and 3) using these insights to discover new capabilities in regenerative medicine and engineering.